Primrose

Beauty With Low Maintenance

When crocuses and daffodils start to fade, primroses take the baton and continue running, coloring our garden.  I’ve been planting different colors of primrose in our garden for the last few years and continue to look for new colors every year.  There are many types of primrose but not many are hardy enough for our USDA zone so my choice is a little limited.

What I like about primrose is that they are pretty and low maintenance.  Once I put one in the garden they tend to thrive being fed only once a year, in spring, and with a little mulching.  The only potentially deadly problem for primrose, at least in our garden, are the slugs.  Since they are low to the ground and tend to like moist soil, it’s easy to reach for the slugs.  They can make a clump of primrose disappear in a few days.

Our previous neighbor gave us a couple of these primroses a few years ago. Now we have a large clump.
Close up
Tiny & bright yellow
These yellow primroses are large and much closer to the ground
Shocking pink with yellow contrast
White
Multi colored

The orange and purple striped ones were devoured by the slugs.  The green one is still budding, not yet open and we’re hoping the slugs miss it too.  For a couple of weeks or so, we have a very welcome primrose color all over our garden.

Spring, Finally

A New Life Cycle Begins

After months of bone chilling cold and several feet of snow, Mother nature finally eased her grip.  The temperature has been increasing slowly and the spring rain has arrived. It’s been raining on and off since yesterday, with intermittent drizzle.  When it was just drizzling, I took the opportunity to walk around looking for both survivors and a new generation in the garden.  The deer and rabbits have done a lot of damage this winter.  I guess hunger made them try anything they can get their teeth on.  Yew hedge, rhododendron, iris, hydrangea, clematis, and tree peony bore the signs of being munched on.

There are also new flowering plants that have pushed themselves above ground.  Tulips, hyacinth and daffodils I rescued from the garbage bin have never failed to express their gratitude year after year.  Not many tulips left though. The chipmunks managed to dig a lot of them up last year even after they had started to flower.  Snowdrops have already bloomed.  Grape Hyacinth and Dwarf iris will follow close behind.

A new cycle begins again. I can hardly wait for a dry sunny day when I can begin pruning roses, feeding the plants, cleaning up the garden in general, and putting new seeds in the ground.

Alyssum 'Basket of Gold'
Alyssum ‘Basket of Gold’

The Alyssum ‘Basket of Gold’ (Aurinia saxatilis) is a perennial that produces bright yellow flowers.  Butterflies and bees love them.  This particular one was buried under a mound of snow this winter but it’s happy and perky again.

Daffodil, only a couple of inches above ground
Daffodil, only a couple of inches above ground
Dwarf iris 'Harmony'
Dwarf iris ‘Harmony’
Snowdrops enjoy spring rain
Snowdrops enjoy spring rain
Rescued tulips
Rescued tulips

I will have to cage these tulips before the chipmunks find them.  I have no idea what this one is but the pattern on the leaf is beautiful and the resulting flower will be so vibrant.

Primrose

Tough Little Plants

When spring weather has not stabilized and frost is not yet out of the picture, not many plants are well equipped to deal with left-over extremes.  Primrose (Primula) is one of the early spring flowers that can deal with a wider than normal range of temperatures.  Recently the temperatures locally have been around 60° to 75°F during the day, dropping to below 40°F overnight.  These little plants are thriving even though some of them started as little more than a root.  Deer found them tasty this last winter; chewing them right down to a stump.  Some  were pulled from the ground but still hung on until I found them and poked them back in the ground.

Their blooming also lasts a long time.  This spring has been good for the primrose since it’s still too cold for the slugs who come out at night, so the leaves and petals are still intact.

Deep burgundy with light color trim
Deep burgundy with light color trim
This orange came back to life after slugs reduced it to little more than two leaves.
This orange came back to life after slugs reduced it to little more than two leaves.
This yellow colored one produces a mound of flowers.  I'll have to divide it this year.
This yellow colored one produces a mound of flowers. I’ll have to divide it this year.
Not much to say about this one aside from 'amazing'.  A lot of flowers, even the one that was chewed to its base.
Not much to say about this one aside from ‘amazing’. A lot of flowers, even the one that was chewed to its base.
This burgundy one retains its dark color and has longer flower stems.
This burgundy one retains its dark color and has longer flower stems.
Curly petals with large flowers.
Curly petals with large flowers.
Paler pink, without red mark and longer stems.
Paler pink, without red mark and longer stems.

Weighing Priority

Weighing Priority: To Blog Or Not To Blog

Spring is finally here, though a little too cold for April.  There are plenty of things to do in the garden and most of them are time sensitive.   Cleaning up dead stalks, feeding, pruning, training, mulching, starting the seedlings…they all need to be done at certain times in order to be done correctly and to be good for the plants.  Two days off from work, from dawn to dusk, seems to be too short a period of time to get them all done.  Something has to go on the back burner.

I started seedlings like tomato and chili pepper at  dusk and working into the night.  After pruning, training and feeding the roses, I have other perennials that are waiting in line to be pampered.  Then I sow cool weather vegetable seeds like arugula, radish, carrot, chard, kale and sugar snap pea in the garden.  After all these chores, a good hot shower and a glass of wine, then I sleep like a baby.  As much as I love to blog I have no physical energy left, though I remain mentally clear and calm and want to share what nature is providing me.  So I apologize for not updating this blog in a more timely fashion.  Call it planting season time requisition, for lack of a better term.

Here is one of my new acquisitions this year: a Blue Zebra Primrose (Primula acaulis ‘Blue Zebra’).  It’s a lovely addition to my primroses.

'Blue Zebra' is almost like batik
‘Blue Zebra’ is almost like batik
Close up
Close up

Spring

Spring Is Finally Here

Came back from vacation with hope to see some green and a little more warmth than when we left, but didn’t expect the temperature to be just like the tropics where we vacationed.   It has been in the 70s in the last couple of days and the plants love it.  There wasn’t much of anything above ground when we left, but now everything is sprouting up all over the garden.  Garlic I put in last October has come up pretty nicely.  Hellebores perk up in the morning only to wilt a little under the afternoon sun.  Daffodils, Dutch Iris, Hyacinth and Hellebores are either blooming or just about to unfurl their petals.

I spent hours on my day off pruning and training the roses and haven’t finished yet.  This is a time consuming task as well as a time constraint.  If I don’t do it now when the roses are just starting to push out their little buds, it will be a lot harder to do when they have leafed out fully.  Deer have done a lot of damage to the tips of plants that came up early, including Irises.  Who said deer wont eat Iris?  But the worst damage to our garden is caused by squirrels that dig up the tulips bulbs, eat them and leave us the leaves to rub into our wounds.

Aside from the annoying squirrel problems, I’m glad to see color in the garden and the aerial show from our avian friends again.

The first Daffodil that opened up
The first Daffodil that opened up
Hellebore in deep maroon
Hellebore in deep maroon
Freckled hellebore
Freckled hellebore
Scilla alba produces white flowers instead of blue
Scilla alba produces white flowers instead of blue
Scilla in blue and white
Scilla in blue and white
Columbine captures a dew drop in the morning
Columbine captures a dew drop in the morning

Primrose

Portrait of Beauty

I don’t remember when I fell in love with Primrose (Primula).  I just noticed that the variety of colors have increased in our garden and I still look for new colors to add to our collection.  These little prim looking flowers are tougher than they look.  They stay close to the ground and don’t need much care.  Once in a while I have to pick slugs off them.

A few have already bloomed this spring even though on some days the temperature dropped close to the freezing point.  A few more colors out there are still too shy or too cold to unfurl their petals.  So, the brave ones deserve there fifteen seconds of fame.

Yellow Primrose
Pink Primrose
Maroon Primrose
White Primrose
Cluster of the white Primrose

Happy to be Alive

Rescued bulbs

Every spring the gardener at my office will plant flower bulbs around the base of trees that line up in front of the office.  The bulbs vary from year to year, from tulips to daffodils to hyacinths.  They look lovely in those little patches on the sidewalk.  After a month passes, the flowers fade, the leaves start to turn yellow and the gardener removes them replacing them with something else.  I thought they would be stored or kept in containers for planting next spring.

Healthy, happy and fragrant

One day I saw him putting the bulbs in a garbage bag so I asked.  The answer; they would be dumped in the garbage.  That was sad to hear.  I see no point in not asking whether I can have them since they will become part of a landfill somewhere anyway, wasted for no good reason.  He was happy to give them to me, and from then on, he’s been holding them for me.  From one gardener (a pro) to another (an amateur). I shared them with my colleagues and neighbor.  My neighbor especially, just couldn’t wrap her head around the idea of wasting perfectly good bulbs.  Yes, we know they are commercially grown for garden design purposes to produce exceptionally large, colorful flowers.   Their life, however, is short at one spring season.  They end up as city garbage after they no longer produce pretty flowers.

This Daffodil blooms every year now.

I dragged bags of bulbs home for the last few years and planted, what’s left over after sharing, in our garden.  I found that planting them this way, flopping leaves and all, the squirrels won’t dig them up.  If I don’t have time, I let them dry out, cut the leaves off and store the bulbs for planting next spring.

I have free, healthy plants.  The bulbs appreciate being rescued from a city landfill and adopted into an organic garden.  They show their joy at being alive year after year, reproducing a new generation every spring for us to enjoy.  Their gratitude clearly expressed both in colors and fragrance.

This hyacinth was the lone survivor in this color.
Tulip after a rain shower
This Salmon colored hyacinth has spawned a lot of siblings.